Jean-Claude Van Damme plays himself in Mabrouk El Mechri self-aware thriller

‘JCVD’ – Jean-Claude at 47 on Amazon Prime

In the opening scene of JCVD (2008), Jean-Claude Van Damme takes out one heavily-armed, vaguely military bad guy after another with his bare hands (and whatever blunt instruments and discarded weapons he grabs along the way) in an elaborately choreographed long take. He comes out the other end huffing and winded as the set falls […]

Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh star in Noah Baumbach's family satire

Nicole Kidman is ‘Margot at the Wedding’ on Netflix

Nicole Kidman is Margot, a tightly wound author and dubiously maternal mother who breaks the silence with her sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to attend her wedding, in Noah Baumbach’s savagely funny satire Margot at the Wedding (2007). Nicole Kidman plays brittle and chilly beautifully, but her self-involved and judgmental Margo is something else altogether. […]

Nicolas Cage in Andrew Niccol's 'Lord of War'

Nicolas Cage is the ‘Lord of War’ on Netflix

“There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That’s one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11?” The opening line of Andrew Niccol’s Lord of War (2005) captures the film in a phrase: it’s serious, it’s sardonic, and it has both a […]

John Carpenter directs the cult movie satire starring Rowdy Roddy Piper and Keith David

‘They Live’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

A year after Oliver Stone elevated the phrase “Greed is good” to a satirical double-edged mantra in Wall Street, John Carpenter put it more bluntly in They Live (1988), a scruffy little genre movie with a subversive subtext. “Why do we worship greed?” asks an pirate broadcaster in the opening scenes, as images of homeless […]

Malcolm McDowell stars in the film by Lindsay Anderson

‘If…’ – Malcolm McDowell rebels on Amazon Prime

Lindsay Anderson captured the fancy of a generation of British youth with If… (1968), his savage satire of the regimented British education system and bullying “public” schools. In 1968 the time and tenor was ripe for a rebel yell, but while the picture stands a rallying cry for a generation, its celebration of individualism and […]